Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

EugW

macrumors G5
Original poster
Jun 18, 2017
14,214
11,978
I just added 8 GB RAM to my mid-2009 MacBook Pro 13" 2.26 GHz.

However, one of the existing #00 3.5 mm screws for the bottom case just barely held a thread, and this time after 8 years when I put back the bottom case for the umpteenth time, that screw wasn't catching anymore. I think the socket lost the outermost thread. I tried the other same sized screws, and none of them would hold that one spot.

I tried just using it without the screw for the time being, but the case would occasionally "click" when I set the computer down, which was annoying. So after some searching through my computer screw collection, I found one screw with the same thread but just a touch (1 mm?) longer, allowing me to put the screw there. It held, but it didn't fit right, because head was too big for depressed area around the screw hole where the screw head was supposed to sit.

IMG_9245.JPG

IMG_9238.JPG

IMG_9241.JPG


So, I got the idea to shave down the edges to make it fit. I took out some knife sharpening stones I happened to have and using just my fingers to hold the screw, I put some elbow grease into it to shave it down. I also scraped off the black coating to make it silver to match a little bit better.

IMG_9250.JPG


I managed to get it to fit, after about half an hour of this, including the searching time for the time I lost the screw on the floor. :eek: You can see that I didn't do it very evenly, so the screw isn't even round anymore. :p But it fits, so I'm happy.

Actually, the head is slightly thicker than the original screw, so the top of the screw isn't recessed like the other screws are, but close enough. The picture makes the screw look dark grey, but it's actually more like a silver grey. Not as light as the original screws, but unless you're looking for it, you probably wouldn't usually notice the difference.

BTW, where can I buy these screws, but 1 mm longer than the normal screw? It uses a Philips #00 screwdriver, and I believe it is normally 3.5 mm long. What are the precise specs? Note that buying the screw kit won't help, because the normal screws don't fit that one spot any longer, because of the stripped thread.

P.S. 8 GB is a noticeable improvement, even for just moderate business type usage. While 4 GB was in the green before most of the time for memory pressure, there is a lot less memory compression going on now. I posted about that here:

https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...-overhead-is-from-memory-compression.2064980/
 
Last edited:

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
1,931
1,552
Shanghai
So best place to get replacement screws is usually a local hardware store, independent one that can order from a catalogue. Otherwise you'll likely have to buy bulk online (They're so worthless so you'll need to buy 100 or so), or get an extremely overpriced 'kit' from somewhere like iFixit.

Phillips #00 screws are standard (Barring head finishes), so I'd just grab one about the size you need and then cut it down. That's probably best bet.

Usually you'd re-tap the thread using a tapping set, boring it out slightly larger and then use a larger screw, something like a Phillips #0. Given that it's aluminium and the screws are steel however, you could probably (Carefully) thread a #0 straight into the hole and it would tap itself.

However personally what I would try first, is get the right size screw you need (I'm assuming the thread is just worn, so it fits but doesn't tighten?), and then apply a small amount of something like Bondo to the screw. Push it in an try clamp it with something like an F-clamp and let it sit overnight. Assuming there's damage in the thread it should catch onto this and hold it. It's not going to be the strongest, it will unscrew however it may shatter the thread when you do so. But it's a relatively simple fix and gives a clean finish.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EugW

EugW

macrumors G5
Original poster
Jun 18, 2017
14,214
11,978
Thanks but as mentioned, I actually need a slightly longer screw than the usual, so the stock screws won't help.

So best place to get replacement screws is usually a local hardware store, independent one that can order from a catalogue. Otherwise you'll likely have to buy bulk online (They're so worthless so you'll need to buy 100 or so), or get an extremely overpriced 'kit' from somewhere like iFixit.

Phillips #00 screws are standard (Barring head finishes), so I'd just grab one about the size you need and then cut it down. That's probably best bet.

Usually you'd re-tap the thread using a tapping set, boring it out slightly larger and then use a larger screw, something like a Phillips #0. Given that it's aluminium and the screws are steel however, you could probably (Carefully) thread a #0 straight into the hole and it would tap itself.

However personally what I would try first, is get the right size screw you need (I'm assuming the thread is just worn, so it fits but doesn't tighten?), and then apply a small amount of something like Bondo to the screw. Push it in an try clamp it with something like an F-clamp and let it sit overnight. Assuming there's damage in the thread it should catch onto this and hold it. It's not going to be the strongest, it will unscrew however it may shatter the thread when you do so. But it's a relatively simple fix and gives a clean finish.
There are 10 stock screws, including 3 very long ones, and 7 short ones, the latter of which I believe are 3.5 mm long. These 3.5 mm screws fit into that screw hole. However, I've tried several of the short screws and none work. Furthermore, it seems their threads are OK on visual inspection. So yeah, it's likely the thread in a screw hole that is the problem. I'm not keen on boring it out, since it would also mean boring out the hole in the case too, but then the recessed area would even more be too small, running into the same problem I illustrated in the pix above.

For that one screw hole, I wonder if the distance to the outermost surface of screw hole from the case may be slightly longer, meaning the screw doesn't thread in very much. The shape (and angle) of the hole bracket is very different from all the other ones, so it's not surprise that is the one that had the problem. Fortunately, the depth of the hole is much longer, meaning much longer screws can be used there. The thread deeper down is still intact, which is why simply using a longer screw worked. The screw I modified to use is 1 mm longer than the original screw.

I would like to just buy something like my modded one but with a better fit for the head. However, I have no idea how to navigate the various sites. None of my local hardware stores would have any of this stuff, although I suppose I could try to find a specific screw store somewhere.

Does anyone know what the exact specs are? Specifically, how to describe the thread?

Luckily, my solution works, so I'm not in a big rush to find the screw. But in the meantime I would like to figure out the terminology to describe these.
 
Last edited:

New_Mac_Smell

macrumors 68000
Oct 17, 2016
1,931
1,552
Shanghai
Thanks but as mentioned, I actually need a slightly longer screw than the usual, so the stock screws won't help.


There are 10 stock screws, including 3 very long ones, and 7 short ones, the latter of which I believe are 3.5 mm long. These 3.5 mm screws fit into that screw hole. However, I've tried several of the short screws and none work. Furthermore, it seems their threads are OK on visual inspection. So yeah, it's likely the thread in a screw hole that is the problem. I'm not keen on boring it out, since it would also mean boring out the hole in the case too, but then the recessed area would even more be too small, running into the same problem I illustrated in the pix above.

For that one screw hole, I wonder if the distance to the outermost surface of screw hole from the case may be slightly longer, meaning the screw doesn't thread in very much. The shape (and angle) of the hole bracket is very different from all the other ones, so it's not surprise that is the one that had the problem. Fortunately, the depth of the hole is much longer, meaning much longer screws can be used there. The thread deeper down is still intact, which is why simply using a longer screw worked. The screw I modified to use is 1 mm longer than the original screw.

I would like to just buy something like my modded one but with a better fit for the head. However, I have no idea how to navigate the various sites. None of my local hardware stores would have any of this stuff, although I suppose I could try to find a specific screw store somewhere.

Does anyone know what the exact specs are? Specifically, how to describe the thread?

Luckily, my solution works, so I'm not in a big rush to find the screw. But in the meantime I would like to figure out the terminology to describe these.

I found this thread for you https://apple.stackexchange.com/que...-thread-pitch-for-the-2010-macbook-13-model-7 it might help.

Otherwise it'll be in metric, usually 'M1' or 'M5' etc. The threads will be standardised. If you're in USA with the love of imperial you may struggle but I would imagine most measurements would be described in imperial but actually metric.

If you find the actual screw, ie Phillips 00, then you just need the head pitch to match. The heads can be slightly different but threads should be IS.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EugW

EugW

macrumors G5
Original poster
Jun 18, 2017
14,214
11,978
I found this thread for you https://apple.stackexchange.com/que...-thread-pitch-for-the-2010-macbook-13-model-7 it might help.

Otherwise it'll be in metric, usually 'M1' or 'M5' etc. The threads will be standardised. If you're in USA with the love of imperial you may struggle but I would imagine most measurements would be described in imperial but actually metric.

If you find the actual screw, ie Phillips 00, then you just need the head pitch to match. The heads can be slightly different but threads should be IS.
OK thanks. That's a great start. I'll look into it.
 

robvas

macrumors 68040
Mar 29, 2009
3,240
629
USA
Just buy a bag of Mac screws from amazon/ebay. Maybe a local shop will give you or sell you one.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.